La Rochelle’s Levani Botia might have been playing at centre of late, but that doesn’t tell the full story when it comes to this dynamic all-rounder nominated for EPCR European Player of the Year. 

The powerful Fijian has spent time in a variety of positions over the past few seasons, and has shone in the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stages as La Rochelle have marched to a maiden European semi-final. 

Arguably the performance of the Last 16 came from Botia, who decimated Gloucester Rugby with a string of powerful off-loads and powerful carries in the 27-16 win at Kingsholm. 

His game-breaking ability has proved crucial for La Rochelle over the past few seasons and will no doubt be pivotal if the French outfit are to reach a first Heineken Champions Cup final next month. 

The winner of one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game will receive a specially-struck gold medal as well as the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy. 

Voting for the award, which is in its 11th season, is now open HERE and those fans who take part will be in the running to win a signed ball and a signed jersey of one of the Heineken Champions Cup finalist clubs. 

The list will be reduced to five players in early May, following the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals, by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the judges. Players who have not been included in the initial list of 15, but who make a significant impact in a semi-final match may be considered for the shortlist. 

The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2021 award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday, 22 May. 

EPCR European Player of the Year 2021 award nominees: 

Grégory ALLDRITT (La Rochelle)
Levani BOTIA (La Rochelle)
Antoine DUPONT (Toulouse)
Tadhg FURLONG (Leinster Rugby)
Kevin GOURDON (La Rochelle)
Robbie HENSHAW (Leinster Rugby)
Matthieu JALIBERT (Bordeaux-Bègles)
Jerome KAINO (Toulouse)
Hugo KEENAN (Leinster Rugby)
Julien MARCHAND (Toulouse)
Kotaro MATSUSHIMA (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain NTAMACK (Toulouse)
Raymond RHULE (La Rochelle)
Will SKELTON (La Rochelle)
Josh VAN DER FLIER (Leinster Rugby) 

Judging Panel – Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions) 

Roll of Honour – 2020: Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs); 2019: Alex Goode (Saracens); 2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92); 2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens); 2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens); 2015: Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne); 2014: Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon); 2013: Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon); 2012: Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby); 2011: Sean O’Brien (Leinster Rugby); 2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of first 15 years of European professional club competitions)